Veritas Closes Precise Buy, Outlines Channel Plans

The first product, StorageCentral, is entry-level storage resource management (SRM) software focused on file and quota management in Windows environments. It allows IT organizations to automatically manage disk space, control storage growth and allocate storage resources.

Precise had been focusing its SRM sales via telesales with limited field support, but under Veritas, StorageCentral will eventually be made available primarily through Veritas' 8,000 Backup Exec solution providers, said Michael Sotnick, vice president or partner sales at Veritas.

Veritas executives said Monday that the company's first two channel partners for StorageCentral will be CDW, which will provide sales support and Web-based product information, and Dell Computer's Software and Peripherals Division. A Dell spokesperson said that division does not provide integration.

Sotnick said the initial choice of channel partners is part of a larger plan, adding that it is better to take a slow approach to the channel with a new product than to launch into the channel too quickly. "But make no mistake: Veritas will roll StorageCentral out to the Backup Exec channel partners," he said. "But with a merger of two public companies, we are limited in what we can do. This rollout will help our broader launch later this year. In some ways, this will be better for the entire channel."

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Eryck Bredy, president of Bredy Network Management, a Woburn, Mass.-based small-business solution provider, said he thinks the marriage of StorageCentral and Veritas' other storage manage applications will be a good move for customers.

Even though most smaller clients have yet to understand the value of SRM, they will over time, said Bredy. "Any company with 10 or more servers is a potential client for SRM," he said. "And any company with a SAN or NAS is, too. But tons of education is needed. Many still don't even know what a SAN is."

StorageCentral will be a good add-on tool for Veritas' Storage Migrator, an application that allows data to be migrated to remote servers, Bredy said. "SRM can show the customer his ROI if he migrates the data," he said.

Bredy said he understands Veritas' move to kick-start its StorageCentral channel move via Dell and CDW. "There are kinds of products which, while I won't call them esoteric, many people would say are luxury items," he said. "They aren't chomping at the bit for this. I'd rather Veritas gets it right, gets it packaged right. By the end of the year they will have the bugs worked out and have it ready for integration."

The second technology received from Precise, formerly Precise i3 and now Veritas i3, is an application performance management product that proactively detects application performance problems before the end user notices them, identifies their root causes and helps correct them, according to Veritas. The software analyzes total system performance from application to storage and correlates the results before recommending corrective actions, the company said.

I3 works with applications from Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft and SAP, as well as IBM's WebSphere and BEA's WebLogic application servers and the Oracle and IBM DB2 databases, said Sotnick. However, because of Precise's limited channel involvement in the past, Veritas will need to make significant investments in channel infrastructure before that product hits solution providers in any significant numbers, he said.

Therefore, the company is currently rolling i3 out direct and via one channel partner--EDS, Sotnick said. However, the company is looking for enterprise solution providers with strong application experience. Sotnick said he expects that 10 percent to 15 percent of Veritas' current 350 North American enterprise channel partners are potential resellers of the software.

Veritas Chairman and CEO Gary Bloom said the company is not bundling Precise and Veritas products immediately but the two sides will be able to leverage each other going forward. "The people worried about availability are also worried about performance," he said. "The people worried about clustered performance are also worried about availability. Over time, we will consider how to bundle these applications."

Precise brings two OEM relationships to Veritas, said Bloom. While the acquisition should strengthen his company's relationship with Microsoft, sales of Precise software via Veritas archrival EMC have been falling since December, when Veritas announced its plan to acquire Precise. "EMC is welcome to continue the OEM relationship with Precise," he said. "But given the nature of the competition, I expect they will immediately stop selling it."

Veritas paid about $609 million for Precise, including about $400 million in cash and 7.4 million shares of Veritas common stock. Precise, which has seen 22 consecutive quarters of growth, brings Veritas about 460 employees and 6,000 customers worldwide, Bloom said.

Veritas plans to further outline its utility computing road map in the next three months, company executives said.